Tag Archives: Music

Richard B.

27 Apr

The Storyteller Almanac

Reblogged 4/27/21

Greetings Y’all,

This weeks’ episode from my podcast series, “Storyteller Almanac” is called, “Richard B.” It’s a story about a famous person in history that had one of the most unique and original views on a well known piece of American heritage. He really held ‘allegiance’ to his ‘pledge’ . I think you’ll like this one – especially if you are even a little bit patriotic and have feelings for this great country called America!

You can find the podcast on all the major podcast platforms like Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts etc… You can also find it at www.StorytellerAlmanac.Com . And please, if you feel so inclined, subscribe to the podcast so you won’t miss any future episodes. No obligation. No charge and no salesperson will call . 

Thanks for droppin’ by neighbor!

Mike’s newest CD Path of the Heart is available now.

If you would like to listen to a sample

CLICK HERE

I’ve been ‘clickin’ the shutter since I was about 16. I morphed into video production when I went to work for The Walt Disney Company many years ago. Currently, I still work for Disney. But my real passion and path is utilizing my photography and multimedia skill sets for the greater good. Translated, anything or anybody that deserves recognition, appreciation or documenting for future history, I’m all over it. Too many important things just slip away in a fast moving, fast paced world / society. ‘If ya’ wanna know where you’re going, ya’ gotta know where ya’ come from’ (Sir Lawrence Olivier – The Jazz Singer 1980). 

If you feel so inclined, I’d sure appreciate you subscribing to Storyteller Almanac on any of the major podcast platforms like Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts and more. Really helps me grow the po

To contact me for any reason, please click or copy & paste: 

MikeThomasImagery@gmail.com

Music and Me-Part 1

21 Mar

SUNDAY MEMORIES

My husband, Fred, suggested that I write something about music and me.  Music has been such a part of my life, that I thought it might be a good topic to write about.

I don’t remember a whole lot of music in my life when I was very young, but I do remember that I started taking piano lessons the day I started first grade in public school.  I believe my teacher’s name was Mrs. Allen, and I went to her house to have my lesson.  I don’t remember what “books” I was given to play from.  I’m sure they were quite simple.  I know that now, most professionals won’t start teaching a new student unless the student knows how to read.  After all, the piano keys are “lettered” with A-B-C-D-E-F-G.  And then it starts over again – we call those “octaves” as the eighth key starts the alphabet over again, just either higher or lower all across the keyboard.

In that vein, I must have been reading by 1st grade.  And back in those days, kindergarten was not part of the public school system.  So my Mother and Father must have taught me to read.

1950 – Judy at the old upright piano – nine years old

1950 – Judy at the old upright piano – nine years old

1952 – Mother, Agnes, and Judy with the new piano
1956 – Judy at the piano – 15 years old

1958 – Judy at the old pump organ in Aunt Jessie’s house – 17 years old

1963 – Judy at the piano with her favorite niece, Charlene Lites

In any case, I took piano lessons from 1st grade all the way through 12th grade.  The teacher that I studied with the most, Mrs. Jordan (later Mrs. Larsen) also had me enroll in a correspondence theory course with the Sherwood School of Music.  I completed that course.  However, I was not a “prodigy” with the piano.  I could play the music, and usually with some feeling or emotion, but I didn’t have a “gift” of music.  I cannot play “by ear” as so many I know can.  I have envied that gift, but am comfortable with what I have, and God has used my talent for His Glory….and that is all I can ask.

From a previous post, I wrote:  I always remember there being a piano in the house.  Mother would sometimes sit down and play her favorite hymns from memory, with embellishments.  Occasionally we four would gather around the piano and sing along – Mom playing, Daddy on bass, brother on tenor, me on soprano. 

1952 – Mother, Dad, Bill and Judy around the piano

I have been church pianist in several churches, and even organist occasionally – much to my regret!  I am NOT an organist!  While I don’t usually have problems with my right hand coordinating with my left hand, I do have problems with both of those going along with my feet!  I have accompanied singers.  I have accompanied violinists.  I have accompanied group singers.  So I haven’t wasted my talent.

I remember one summer, possibly following my senior year in high school, Mrs. Larsen encouraged me to try a two-piano duet.  She had me play with another Judy, who was a distant friend from high school and the head cheerleader of our high school.  We had great fun playing together.  It was a rather difficult piece, but the final product was fantastic!  We played “Malagueña” from the Andalucia Suite, by Ernesto Lecuona.  It’s a magnificent piece.  I don’t remember that we actually performed it anywhere, just for ourselves, but we loved it.  I purchased the sheet music for that as well as for Andalucia itself, and learned to play it myself.  Really beautiful music.

~~~~~~~~~To Be Continued~~~~~~~~~~

Judy is living in Central Florida with her retired U.S. Air Force husband of 50+ years. Born in Dallas, Texas, she grew up in the Southwestern United States.She met her husband at their church, where he was attending the university in her town. After college and seminary, he entered the Air Force, and their adventures began.They lived in eight of our United States, and spent six years in Europe, where their oldest daughter was born. She was a stay-at-home mom for many years .

  Judy has always been involved with music, both playing the piano and singing. Always interested in exercise, she was an aerobic dancing instructor, as well as a piano teacher for many years, and continues to faithfully exercise at home.

After moving to Central Florida, she served as a church secretary for nearly nine years.Her main hobby at this point in time is scanning pictures and 35mm slides into the computer. She also enjoys scrapbooking.She and her husband have two married daughters and four grandchildren, including grandtwins as well as a great-grandson. She and her husband enjoy the Disney parks as often as possible.

The Pianist

19 May

SUNDAY MEMORIES

Judy Wills

 

I have written before about my pianist ability. Yes, I firmly believe God gave me a talent for playing the piano – but He didn’t give me the “gift” – the ability to sit down at the instrument and just….play.  My mother could do that, and many people I know are able to do that.

 

Judy with friend playing on our piano, 1959

 

Yes, I envy them that ability, but not to the point of “why not me, God??”  I just enjoy the music they can make.

Recently, Fred and I took our eighth cruise with the Disney Cruise Line.

 

Disney Cruise Line – the Fantasy

 

Disney (DCL) has become our favorite cruise line. Many things about Disney and the DCL are just a cut above the other cruise lines we’ve cruised with, and we enjoy them all.

One evening, before we went to our supper, Fred noticed there was a “featured” pianist that would be playing on the piano in the atrium,

 

The Atrium – looks like a peacock

 

so we got ready a bit early and went down to listen to him play.  His name is Tim Moss.  As I recall, there was a lot of activity going on – perhaps it was a time for all the princesses to come and have their pictures made with guests, especially children.

 

 

But Tim was playing as background music for it all. He was playing “by ear” i.e. without music in front of him.  He would just segue from one song into another without dropping a beat.  We were one floor above him, and when he looked up, I waved at him, and he smiled.

After a bit, we went down to his level and stood at the piano as he continued to play.  We talked with him a little, thanking him for his great music and ability. Then we went to supper.

We had one other opportunity to hear him play. He was in a smaller room (called Ooh-la-la) and again was playing by ear.

 

Ooh-La-La Lounge – Disney Fantasy – Credit to Google Search and Roger Weeks

 

There were about 15 people in the room, interacting with him, guessing the songs he was playing.  He was having a great time with them.  While Fred and I love music, I’m afraid there really aren’t too many song titles that I know.  But it was fun, anyway.

The final time we saw him, was on our way to supper the last night onboard.  We were the only two guests in the room!  He said that wasn’t unusual, and he expected more to show up later.  And so we just talked.  He is from Vancouver, Canada.  I told him that, as I watched him play, my fingers just don’t go as fast as his do!

And then I told him a story about when our church here in Orlando was presented with a new grand piano.  The donor wanted to be anonymous.  One Sunday morning, early, I was in the sanctuary, probably picking up any trash from the previous Sunday, when I kept hearing a strange sound. I couldn’t find where it was coming from!  My thought was:  do we have mice in the attic?  (I’m not even sure there is an attic there!)   When I heard it again, I finally looked around and found one of our members playing HARD on the piano.  As it turned out, the piano had some “electronic” features to it, and Al had put on his headset – which turned off the sound of the piano – and was playing furiously on the instrument!  His furiously pounding on the keys was what I was hearing!

We all three got a good laugh from that story.

I can’t seem to find Tim on line anywhere. He has played for/with Disney for more than 15 years now, and seems to really enjoy it.  We are glad we had the opportunity to hear him and speak with him.

It’s amazing how God puts us in others paths sometimes.  And I love it!

 

 

 

 

JUDYJudy is living in Central Florida with her retired U.S. Air Force husband of 50+ years. Born in Dallas, Texas, she grew up in the Southwestern United States.She met her husband at their church, where he was attending the university in her town. After college and seminary, he entered the Air Force, and their adventures began.They lived in eight of our United States, and spent six years in Europe, where their oldest daughter was born. She was a stay-at-home mom for many years
Judy has always been involved with music, both playing the piano and singing.
Always interested in exercise, she was an aerobic dancing instructor, as well as a piano teacher for many years, and continues to faithfully exercise at home.
After moving to Central Florida, she served as a church secretary for nearly nine years.Her main hobby at this point in time is scanning pictures and 35mm slides into the computer. She also enjoys scrapbooking.
She and her husband have two married daughters and four grandchildren, including grandtwins.
She and her husband enjoy the Disney parks as often as possible.

 

 

 

 

MUSIC Within Us

27 Dec

A Life to Live

Melody Hendrix

You know what music is?

God’s little reminder that there’s something else besides us in this universe;
harmonic connection between all living beings, everywhere, even the stars.
Robin Williams

A painter paints pictures on canvas. But musicians paint their pictures on silence. Leopold Stokowski

Music is what feelings sound like. Author unknown

Music is the only medicine when there’s no cure for the noise my mind drowns in. Author unknown

Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and charm and gaiety to life and to everything. Plato

Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent. Victor Hugo

Music is a higher revelation than all wisdom and philosophy. Ludwig van Beethoven

 

music

It’s Music To My Ears

16 Oct

SUNDAY MEMORIES

Judy Wills

 

Seems like I have always loved to sing. I vaguely remember being in the Christmas program in my 1st grade class, and sang a solo. I think it was….Santa Claus Is Coming To Town.

I’m sure I sang in the children’s choir in our church. I don’t remember much about that. However, I do remember being in the youth choir in our church. And when I turned 17 years old, those of us that age, were allowed to sing in the adult choir. I was rather appalled to realize that some of those older women really needed to stop singing in the choir! And I made up my mind then and there that, when I got to that age, and if I found myself “warbling” like they were then it was time to stop singing in the choir!

I remember singing in my Junior High School chorus. Back then, Elementary school was 1st through 6th grade. Junior High was 7th through 9th grade, and high school was 10th through 12th grade.

I do remember singing solo’s in church – and not just in my home church, but in churches that Fred and I were members of years later.

But my best memories of singing came about during my High School days. I remember that we had to choose between singing in the chorus (or being in the band if that was our talent) or taking P.E. I chose music.   I was in the girls chorus all three years of my high school.

But there were two other groups within the music at my high school that I was interested in:  All-State Chorus and a hand-selected group they called Dreamers. I had to audition for each of those groups each and every year. The first year I auditioned for All-State Chorus, I had a cold and didn’t qualify. However, the final two years of my high school I was able to be a part of that group. High School choruses from all over New Mexico came to Albuquerque for the concert. We met in the University of New Mexico (UNM) gymnasium for rehearsals and the concert. As you might imagine, the acoustics were not the best, but we needed the space. And since Albuquerque was more-or-less central in New Mexico, it was always held there. What a fantastic experience that was!!

 

1

1959 All-State Chorus from my high school

 

But I think, outside of All-State Chorus, the best thing about high school and singing, was to be a part of Dreamers all three years of my high school. There were 12 of us each year – four voices on each part of a trio. We always had a great blend, even though many of the voices changed out each year, as some graduated. We traveled to sing for other group meetings around the city. It was great!

 

2

1959 Dreamers

 

Our chorus director was Arthur Loy. He was also the director for those of us in the All-State Chorus as well as the Dreamers. He had a great love for music, and his students, and the talent to direct us. He picked great songs for us to sing – some of the old great ones: Night and Day was one of my favorites. I was sorry to graduate and leave his tutelage.

 

3

 

As you can see, music has been a large part of my life. I am grateful.

Sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all the earth.

Psalm 96:1

 

 

Christmas Park

5 Sep

My Take

DiVoran Lites

1

 

 

I danced once to a fiddle.

Bill smiled, the fiddle-man played.

I stepped and swirled in a picnic pavilion

No one else in the park

No one said a word

One fine day.

 

 

 

 

The Butterfly Effect

28 Jul

My Take

DiVoran Lites

Author, Poet and ArtistHave you ever heard of the butterfly effect? (with reference to chaos theory) It’s the notion that a butterfly fluttering in Rio de Janeiro could change the weather in Chicago. In other words small actions can have big results.

Last night, Nan’s mom and I went to the fifth grade chorus performance at her school. Nan had invited me and I usually tell her mom I’ll pick her up, but this time, I put it on the calendar and forgot about it until practically the last minute. I jumped in the car and ran over there and Nan’s Daddy was doing some computer work. He sat and talked to me about his hopes and dreams for the children. He and his wife are having their fifth child in a few months. They’ve really spread them out. The first one (a boy) was born about twenty-four years ago. Dad was hoping for a boy this time because boys are easier to raise. I said I was hoping for a girl, ‘cause I think girls are easier. It was none of my business, though. Instead of arguing, he said maybe a girl would be best. I wasn’t trying to persuade him. He said Nan and her mom would probably enjoy a girl since their other daughter is grown and gone. It seemed as if that short positive conversation opened a new thought for him – the flutter of a butterfly’s wing.

When the mom and I got to the concert, we sat down front so Nan could see us when she went by. Every kid in the group wore black pants, a white shirt, a turquoise satin cummerbund, and a matching bow tie. Nan gave us a big smile and a wave.

While we waited for the concert to begin, Nan’s mother said she didn’t think she’d put Nan in chorus next year. I had envisioned a whole string of years of chorus and all the friends, trips, and new experiences they would entail for Nan, plus thinking about how singing and playing music is for people. Again none of my business. But Mom wanted to talk so I ventured a question about whether Nan wanted to go to chorus next year. She said she’d ask her. That gave me freedom to tell how much our children enjoyed music in school and what a nice bunch of kids they met. I wanted a little to persuade this time. When I said they got to go on trips and do fun things, that clinched it. “She can go if she wants to,” Mom said.

Upon such small encounters, ones we’re not even looking for, lives can drastically change — the flutter of butterfly wings.

Here’s my paraphrase of Hebrews 10:24

Don’t give up the habit of meeting together with one another. Be concerned for one another with a sincere heart and sure faith. Accept Christ’s atonement so that there are no guilty consciences. Omit resentment and judgment. By example, gently inspire and encourage each other to do well in their decisions.

What do you understand that passage of scripture to mean?

By DiVoran Lites

By DiVoran Lites

The Music Makers~Part 1

17 Mar

My Take

DiVoran Lites

Author, Poet and ArtistSaturday I had the privilege of taking fifth grader, Clarisse, to sing at the King Center in Melbourne. As it turned out, it was a big deal. There were only eight students from her school chosen to go. She wore her uniform, which was a pair of black pants and a long sleeved white shirt. Her teacher had a satin cumberbund and bow-tie for her and the other children from their school. Rita, Clarisse’s 17-year-old cousin who lives with her family went along too. We had to be there at eight a. m. So we got up early and drove forty-five minutes down I-95 to get there on time.

Adults and children from all over Brevard County flooded the walkways into the center. Carrie told us we couldn’t go in with her and she didn’t want any hugging, kissing, or long goodbyes, so we walked twenty paces behind and she seemed happy with that. As she walked away, she looked tall and slender in her black pants and white shirt with her hair in cornrows. She had given firm instructions to her cousin not to call out her name in the auditorium.

Rita and I headed for the counties best retail center, The Avenues in Viera. On the way, we talked about high school and friends. Apparently, high school is not a bed of roses. It certainly wasn’t for me. My take is that people want Rita when they want her, but they don’t have any use for her when she needs them and they are sometimes cruelly critical. I could honestly reassure her that she is a good person, and a smart one and she was the one who brought up the fact that high school wasn’t going to last forever. I told her I’d had some of the same things happen to me, but I let them go on for too long. I tried to persuade her that each of us has great worth and that we are free to choose our own friends.

I mean one’s whole life doesn’t have to be long-suffering, does it? Isn’t it okay to find a real and dear friend once in a while? Really, I did have some dear friends, but I thought I ought to please everyone, and I didn’t want to be self-indulgent so I spent more time with the ones I felt uncomfortable with because I didn’t want to be too self-indulgent. Haven’t we all done that—at least sometimes?

Green and pink paintingpng

Dad’s Music

14 May

My Take

DiVoran Lites

Author, Poet and Artist

Dad was tone-deaf and he hated music. He was tone-deaf, couldn’t sing a note, well, a correct note, he did go for: “Mary Ann, Mary Ann, down by the seaside sifting sand,” now and then. His rendering was unique. I can hear it still.

Dad’s mother never played music on a radio. I don’t recall her having a radio, so maybe he got the disability from her. I do know he became angry when I played mine too loud. But doggone it, I loved music, couldn’t get enough of it. I bought the, “Hit Parade,” magazine every week, laid on my bed and sang all the songs to myself until bedtime.

For our bar and restaurant, we had to have a juke box. What a wonderful, magical thing that was, beautiful too. And you know, even though Dad didn’t love music, I suspect that he must have loved his little daughter who delighted in song and dance. Sometimes when we had no customers, he’d give me the key to the jukebox (we called it a jute-box) and let me trip the trigger fifty times in order to play every single record on there. If it were winter the big table would be gone from the 10×10 dining room and I could dance to my heart’s content while Dad loaded bullets in the other room. There were a few songs he did like. I guess it was the words. He liked: “Tumbling Tumbleweeds,” “Smoke, Smoke, Smoke that Cigarette,” and, “I’m Looking Over a Four Leaf Clover.” I wonder how I know that.

Dad liked to load up mom, brother, and me, they called me, Sister, and go down the mountain roads to visit his mother and dad. The scenery made me want to sing, “When it’s Springtime in the Rockies,” and “C. O. L. O. R. A. D. O, (I love you.) quietly to myself. Sometimes I made up songs. I didn’t think anyone could hear me over the hum of the car, but I was wrong. One day my dad was taking Granddad somewhere and Granddad said, “She sure knows a lot of songs.”

“She makes some of them up,” said Dad. How did he know that?

“Well, well,” said Granddad approvingly and I thought, looky there, I’ve done something good.

One year when we took our annual trip with kids to visit Mom and Dad in California Dad had some cassette tapes in a holder on the front seat of his king cab. Of course I read the titles. You’ll never guess in a million years… Believe it or not, they were opera tapes! I hadn’t even learned to like opera myself. When taxed with the incongruity, Dad admitted it. He actually liked to listen to opera tapes driving down the road. Did that mean he missed the little music maker in the back seat? I’d like to think so. “Yep,” says he…”drives your mother crazy.”

I like opera now, too. I’m listening to Pavarotti, as we speak. You hear that, Dad?

 

Dad and I

Dad and I

DiVoran and Pavarotti at Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum in London, England

 

DiVoran and Pavarotti at Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum in London, England

A Moment with the Master

28 Jan

My Take

DiVoran Lites

DiVoran Lites

 

A friend of Bill’s invited us to the dedication of the new pipe organ at his church. We went early and waited long. When we finally got into the church, we sat down facing the front wall where some of the organ’s pipes were worked into a beautiful and artistic cross.

The church held 350 people, but we found out later the crowd had swelled to 600 in the foyer and around the aisles and were grateful for the suggestion to arrive early.

One thing we had time to do was to read the excellent program we’d been given. Here are a few of the things we learned about the organ: The pipes we could see were just a sample of the number of pipes behind the wall, 2,197 of them to be exact, each with its own voice. The A. E. Schlueter Pipe Organ Company, pipes are made by hand one at a time, no assembly process there. The organ is assembled at the factory and tested for sound, then disassembled and taken to the church where it is put together so voicers could adjust it for the acoustics of the building.

The organist, Peter Beardsley, who is a wonder in his own right, played. “The Carnival of the Animals,” by Camille Saint-Saens, and several other pieces and we immersed ourselves in the music. We learned from him that if the organ as instrument had a patron saint it would be Bach.

The concert was almost over when one little pipe decided it did not want to stop sounding off. It wasn’t too loud, but no more music could be played while it was stealing the show. Mr. Beardsley rose and the pastor went to the front along with several other people. Everyone looked puzzled and helpless.

Down the aisle from the pew behind us strode a very big man in a black suit who had been introduced to us earlier as A. E. Schlueter, himself. A wave of relief swept over the crowd. He spoke to the puzzled professionals at the front and then came back to his seat. In a moment, the pipe quieted down.

So now, maybe you think the point of this story is to tell you that the master organ maker made everything right. Yes, that’s what I thought at the moment. But just to make a good thought better I wanted to know what the master had done to make it happen. As we filed out past Mr. Schlueter he was greeting people and shaking hands within a foot of us.

Oh please let me ask him a question, I thought, and to my delight and surprise he moved closer to where I was standing and looked right at me. Out of six hundred people, I was to get my answer without having to try to find him and talk to him at some other point, which I probably wouldn’t have done thinking he might be too busy for me.

“Did you do something to fix the organ?” I asked.

“I sent a man up to release the stuck valve,” he answered.

“Oh, the master was here. That’s the theme.” I said with delight. He understood that I was writing even though it looked as if I was just standing in front of him.

“The Lord has a sense of humor,” said Mr. Schlueter. “He likes to keep me humble.” It seemed as if he wanted me especially to tell my readers that, so I have–your own special message, dear reader, from the master.

And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying: this is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left.

 Isaiah 30 : 21

Pipe Organ

 

 

 

 

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